The New Age music family is about to receive a wake up call, and his name is Omar. Refusing to accept the preconceived popular notion that New Age is best suited for elevators and long naps, this multicultural prodigy dares to give the genre a beat. "People who don't understand New Age sometimes complain that it all sounds the same," opined Omar from his comfortable L.A. apartment. "Real New Age fans appreciate the artistry of people like Yanni and Kitaro, but a lot of people haven't developed a taste for it yet. That's where I hope to come in."
While Omar is a classically trained pianist, he has a gift for composing intriguing melodies that dance in your head long after the music has stopped. The son of a U.N. diplomat, Omar spent decades living around the globe, soaking up musical influences from far flung locales such as Switzerland, Afghanistan, Cuba, France and the Czech Republic. These exotic flavors are mixed together brilliantly on songs like "Gypsy Woman," which deftly merges hauntingly familiar European melodies with aggressive Latin rhythms and challenges you not to tap your feet. "I want my music to bring my experiences around the world to life," beamed Omar, "and that's the inspiration that gives my music its energy." Other rousing uptempo songs on Omar's debut collection include "Running To You" and "Flying High."
Omar's debut album is not without its soothing moments. Songs like "Innocence Lost" and "Last Dance" are remarkable for their ability to evoke an emotional response in a beautifully serene context. But even in their quieter moments, Omar's songs convey passion and drama. Omar attributes this to his varied international influences like Jean Michel Jarre (France), Kitaro (Japan), Vangelis (Greece) and, surprisingly, Prince! "I know it may sound crazy for a New Age artist, but I really admire Prince, or 'the Artist,' or whatever else he may be calling himself," Omar smiled. "In his best moments, his songs are filled with drama, whether it's the opening chords of 1999' or the structure of songs like "Raspberry Beret' or Adore.' I like musical pieces that have a dramatic introduction -- a beginning, a middle and an end, just like a great movie or story."
Omar best illustrates his flair for the dramatic on his standout piece "Waves of Emotion." What begins as a beautiful solo piano performance gradually builds with layers of progressively powerful orchestration until the song reaches an emotional climax! Unexpectedly, a bass line and percussion track emerge from the passionate afterglow, as Omar's performance on piano and synthesizer soar above the arrangement. "It's amazing what you can do with computers and synthesizers today," remarked Omar. "You can virtually create an orchestra. But when you hear my piano, there's nothing automated, that's all me." In fact, Omar considers his virtuoso talent to be something of a secret weapon in the New Age genre. "I can't wait to get out there and perform live," said Omar. "I love to entertain and interact with people."
Omar has another asset that should help along his career path: his personality. His international good looks are balanced with a self-deprecating sense of humor and intelligent wit. Could he become New Age music's first teen idol? "I don't know about all that," Omar blushed. "But it's an interesting idea. First and foremost I want people to take my music seriously. I want to reach people from all kinds of backgrounds, and I'd be very happy if I could reach an audience that included a lot of younger people. Everyone assumes young people only like rock and rap, but that's not necessarily true." Glancing at a trade magazine blaring headlines about a certain blockbuster movie, Omar added, "Think about the success of Titanic.' I'm talking about the soundtrack album, not the movie. That album's sold more than ten million copies, and most of it is classical and New Age instrumentals. There must be millions of young women with posters of Leonardo DiCaprio on their walls listening to James Horner's beautiful music. So, given the right inspiration, people of any age will appreciate quality music. I just want to give them a reason to give me a shot."